Story and photos by Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Gapers Block | Aug. 22, 2013 |
Demonstrators gathered Wednesday evening at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago to rally for gun violence prevention.
The event was coordinated by volunteers with Organizing for Action and featured activists and community members speaking out about the impacts gun violence has had on their lives.
Organizers called for Congress to take action and support commonsense gun violence prevention legislation.
Here in Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn recently passed a law requiring background checks on all gun sales. “While this is a great step in reducing guns entering the illegal market, we need a strong national law to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” said Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
Carolyn Murray, who lost her 19-year-old son when he was fatally shot on November 29, 2012 in Evanston, said it’s time for everyone to stand up against gun violence and urged a united front–clergy, parents, politicians, and police–to “end this senseless killing of our kids.”
Gun violence continues to shake Chicago’s communities and the country at large, the need for comprehensive gun control legislation has never been more obvious, organizers said.
Polls show that a majority of Americans now support tighter gun control measures, and demonstrators agreed that Congress must seize this opportunity to pass gun violence prevention laws that keep guns out of dangerous hands and make our neighborhoods safer.
Demonstrators want to know what it will take for Congress to act on gun violence prevention. “If the will of the American people and the voices of the families affected by all these tragedies aren’t enough, what will it take?”
As one community activist, Victoria Jordan, put it, “If we can’t trust the people we vote into office to fight for us, who can we?”
Beyond implementing crucial gun violence prevention laws, Pastor Michael Neal of Glorious Light Church spoke of the need for an integrated approach to curbing gun violence.
“We must not settle for a simply reactive approach to the problem,” he said, “We should look holistically at the various ills that have caused this violence. Then, we who are able have a duty to consistently be active, serving, and supportive of the programs that bring life.”